The Desert Horseman (1946)

54 mins | Musical comedy | 11 July 1946

Director:

Ray Nazarro

Producer:

Colbert Clark

Cinematographer:

L. W. O'Connell

Editor:

Paul Borofsky

Production Designer:

Charles Clague

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Phantom of the Desert . The film opens with the following written prologue: "The great Southwest of 1880...where blazing six guns both defied and upheld the law...one of the most fearless fighters for right was a mysterious rider known as The Durango Kid." For additional information on "The Durango Kid" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for The Return of the Durango Kid ... More Less

The working title of this film was Phantom of the Desert . The film opens with the following written prologue: "The great Southwest of 1880...where blazing six guns both defied and upheld the law...one of the most fearless fighters for right was a mysterious rider known as The Durango Kid." For additional information on "The Durango Kid" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for The Return of the Durango Kid . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Jul 1946.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jul 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 46
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 46
p. 13.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Jun 46
p. 3055.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Jul 46
p. 3124.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITER
Orig story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
SOUND
Sd eng
SOURCES
SONGS
"There's a Tear in Your Eye," music and lyrics by Walt Shrum and Robert Hoag
"I Wish I Could Be a Singing Cowboy," music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin
"He Was an Amateur Once" and "Ring the Bell," music and lyrics by Smiley Burnette.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Phantom of the Desert
Release Date:
11 July 1946
Production Date:
23 August--31 August 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 July 1946
Copyright Number:
LP817
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
54
Length(in feet):
4,855
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
11237
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When rancher Tom Jarvis is ambushed and shot by a man hiding in the hills above a trail, the team of horses pulling his carriage bolts. Spotting the carriage, Steve Godfrey catches the runaway team and finds Jarvis' dead body in the back. Steve drives the carriage to the Jarvis ranch, where Smiley, the cook, greets him. Signalling to Smiley to pretend that he does not know him, Steve instructs his old friend to meet him later that afternoon at the line shack. After Steve rides off, Jarvis' niece Mary Ann, whose father was killed by an unidentified assailant the previous year, is consoled by Sam Treadway, the Jarvis attorney. Later at the line shack, Steve meets Smiley and shows him a wanted poster with Steve's picture on it. Steve explains that he was assigned to escort the cavalry paymaster when Jarvis learned of a planned robbery. Although Steve changed their route, they were ambushed and robbed anyway, leading to charges against both himself and Jarvis. Concluding his story with the fact that the leader of the outlaws was left-handed, Steve vows to clear both his and Jarvis' names. Meanwhile, in town, Treadway, who is secretly in league with outlaw Rex Young to coerce Mary Ann into selling her ranch, dispatches Young and his gang to the ranch to terrorize Mary Ann. Just as Young confronts Walt, the Jarvis foreman, the masked rider known as The Durango Kid, Steve's alter ego, intervenes, guns blazing, and sends Young and his gang scurrying away. Later, when Mary Ann turns down Treadwell's offer to buy the ranch and mentions her visit from The Durango ... +


When rancher Tom Jarvis is ambushed and shot by a man hiding in the hills above a trail, the team of horses pulling his carriage bolts. Spotting the carriage, Steve Godfrey catches the runaway team and finds Jarvis' dead body in the back. Steve drives the carriage to the Jarvis ranch, where Smiley, the cook, greets him. Signalling to Smiley to pretend that he does not know him, Steve instructs his old friend to meet him later that afternoon at the line shack. After Steve rides off, Jarvis' niece Mary Ann, whose father was killed by an unidentified assailant the previous year, is consoled by Sam Treadway, the Jarvis attorney. Later at the line shack, Steve meets Smiley and shows him a wanted poster with Steve's picture on it. Steve explains that he was assigned to escort the cavalry paymaster when Jarvis learned of a planned robbery. Although Steve changed their route, they were ambushed and robbed anyway, leading to charges against both himself and Jarvis. Concluding his story with the fact that the leader of the outlaws was left-handed, Steve vows to clear both his and Jarvis' names. Meanwhile, in town, Treadway, who is secretly in league with outlaw Rex Young to coerce Mary Ann into selling her ranch, dispatches Young and his gang to the ranch to terrorize Mary Ann. Just as Young confronts Walt, the Jarvis foreman, the masked rider known as The Durango Kid, Steve's alter ego, intervenes, guns blazing, and sends Young and his gang scurrying away. Later, when Mary Ann turns down Treadwell's offer to buy the ranch and mentions her visit from The Durango Kid, Treadway schemes with Young to eliminate The Durango Kid and force Mary Ann into selling her property. Soon after, Treadway informs Mary Ann that there may be gold on her land and asks her to accompany him to the line shack to investigate. Seeing them ride off together, Smiley notifies Steve. When they arrive at the shack, Young steps from the doorway, gun in hand, and threatens to shoot both Treadway and Mary Ann unless she agrees to sign a quit-claim deed. Just then, The Durango Kid appears, locks Young in the closet and frees Mary Ann and Treadway. Soon after, Steve visits Treadway at his office and asks him to lock some cash in the safe. When Treadway writes a receipt for the money, Steve notices that he is ambidextrous. Later that night, disguised as The Durango Kid, Steve sneaks into Treadway's office, opens the safe and finds an empty pay-master bag hidden inside. Treadway then returns to his office, and as The Durango Kid demands that he confess to the Jarvis murders and the paymaster robbery, Young peers in the window and pulls a gun on The Durango Kid. When The Durango Kid gets the draw on Young and escapes, Treadway decides to kill Mary Ann and forge her name on the deed. The next day, Eddie, one of the Jarvis ranch hands who is secretly in Treadway's employ, searches Steve's bunk and uncovers the wanted poster and empty money bag. After Eddie shows them to Treadway, the lawyer turns them over to the sheriff, who then arrests Steve. When Mary Ann pleads with Treadway to help Steve, the lawyer instructs her to meet him in the hills later that day. Overhearing the conversation, Smiley reports to Steve and helps him break out of jail. Steve then tells Smiley to assemble the boys while he rides on ahead. As Smiley and the boys apprehend Young and his gang, Treadway is poised in the hills above the trail, ready to shoot Mary Ann. Springing from his horse, The Durango Kid tackles Treadway and forces him to confess to his crimes. With his name cleared, Steve says goodbye to Mary Ann and Smiley and rides off. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.